ITGS Syllabus

Friday, November 10, 2006

Topic 173

the capabilities and limitations of robots with respect to vision, touch, sound and movement by Andrew

Robots are generally used in the world nowadays to do things such as building cars and or other jobs that could be dangerous to a human being if they were to work at that job. Most robots that do a job nowadays are programmed to do everything one way and just repeats itself after the first cycle of movements is done.

Robots given vision will be able to see where the robot itself is going if it is moving at all. It will give the robot a vision that can probably zoom in to see things that are small from where it is standing. With the vision on a robot the robot could infiltrate a building and with its vision could show what is inside the building and help people in wars, terrorist situations or anything that is dangerous. Vision can also give the robot a sense to move on itself without a human’s guidance. Though the robot must need some thing to do like walk up stairs, press a button, pull a lever or the robot has nothing to move for or look at.

Giving touch to a robot will give the robot a sense that most all humans have. Instead of being numb and not feeling any pain, the robot will feel what they are touching and could feel if they are pressing too hard and going to crush the object or not. With the sense of touch, robots could replace people in the ER that hold down the parts of the body that are bleeding out and not crush the person’s body part. Touch could also give the robot a sense of being in pain if it can even compute what it is. It could introduce a level of pain and what type of pain.

Robots given the ability to hear sounds could do many things such as have voice recognition it could listen to a command a human gives or other robots. The other robots don’t have to speak using a human language, but could just use simple beeps that are understood by other robots and then they would do the command they were told to do. The commanding robot would slightly be different from all other robots that are under it, for it to be able to command the lesser robots. Sound recognition is a cool thing to have in a robot. Though if you were to say something wrong you will be in a bad position because you would have screwed up. For example, you could say “I am going to get my robot to kill you” and the robot activates and kills your friend.

Movement in robots could only be put in if they are given vision, or a sense of touch. With out either of these the robot could not operate itself. This is because if it were to move anywhere with out any type of vision or sense of touch, it would walk into a wall, off a cliff or anything that could get it no where. Robots could always be controlled by humans, but the point of robots is to have them be able to do things themselves without the help of humans doing much anything then giving a simple command.

Given all these things, robots could work on their own and not need much of the humans attention. The only bad part is that if the robots some how are able to create themselves and give themselves a mind that is made to be against humans. That would lead the people of our world to die out because then the robots would start ruling over the world. Which is actually a very scary situation if robots could think. Only if robots like the ones in I, Robot, are like the ones we make but with out their own sense of thinking. And of course no daily updates from a central computer.


the capabilities and limitations of robots with respect to vision, touch, sound and movement by Taro

The primary reason for the production of robots is to enhance our standard of living. Robots have the ability to do that because of their multifunctional features. When constructing them, the robotic engineers put every effort to include certain properties so that their final products would be qualified as 'robots', not just 'machines'.

Three key properties of a robot (according to Wikipedia) are "sensing its environment, manipulating things in its environment, and making choices based on the preprogrammed sequence or the environment its in." It is a must for any type of robots to have at least the above characteristics, whether they come in forms like Asimo or forms like ordinary machines. If they are programmed the fundamental points, from there various motions (both internal and external) can develop and thus the capabilities become numerous. First let us take a look at the aspect of vision.

We might note that for this, robots are far more better than humans because depending on their structures, they can see things in a wide range while humans have a limited scope. In addition, sometimes the robots are able to zoom into or out of objects. So areawise the robots may be superior, but if we consider the colors they can recognize, it is often the case that the recognition is poor.

The scale of color is not programmed specifically. However we would still say that regarding vision, robots outshine humans since they are capable of seeing through things such as bulidings and also their eyesight never get poorer as long as they are constantly charged, unlike humans who do start lacking eyesight as they get older.

Moving onto the issue of touching, we now get to notice some obvious limitations of both robots and humans. Supporters of robots may claim robots cleared the difficulty that humans experience when touching extremely cold or hot objects. Indeed they have, but robots have their own drawback which is the fact that they cannot feel pain. This sounds like a positive feature, but living without pain means the robots do not get any sign of warnings.

Improvements are being made, for example engineers program stuff so that whenever the robots receive certain amount of shock, they react quickly to minimize the damage. Just as a trivia, in the movie 'A.I.', there is one scene in which robots with artificial intelligence are getting destroyed. Before they face their end, they switch off their sensors for pain because they conclude that they would no longer need it. Although the movie is based on a fictional story and the setting of it is long ahead in the future, the day might really come; robots having one simple switch for sensing or not sensing pain.

Limitations involving sound would be shown strongly in humans, because compared to some of the latest robots that have a lot of capacity, they cannot pick up much sounds nor interpret simultaneously. If we concentrate purely on the quality of the sounds that humans and robots create, we can say that robots have consistency than humans.

However humans are usually better at speaking with correct intonation. Lastly, we look at the movements of robots. With relativity, it can be said that robots are very slow and they lack variations. Mistakes are common too. In one robot show, Asimo (two-legged robot) was introduced and it was ordered to walk down a simple stair, but it collapsed after going down one or two steps.


the capabilities and limitations of robots with respect to vision, touch, sound and movement by Aditya

A Robot is usually an electro-mechanical system, which, by its appearance or movements, conveys a sense that it has intent or agency of its own.

Robots do what they are programmed to do. The builder writes an algorithm based on which the robot acts.


A robot usually doesn't see things and make decisions and judgments based on what it sees. It merely sees things on a mechanical or survival outlook. Through a camera, or in some cases, a motion sensor, they can sense the presence of objects, or as in the case of the advanced ASIMO robot made by Honda, it can sense speed and direction and when it senses the presence of an object of humanly proportions, it greets them. It can see recognize up to ten faces.


The ASIMO robot is one which can distinguish sounds. This makes up for its lack of being able to visually distinguish people in decent number. It can also recognize sudden unusual sounds.

Touch and Movement:

It can recognize terrain and uses this as basis for the movements it makes. An example of terrain recognition would be the recognition of a flight of stairs.

There is a robot at MIT which is capable of sensing emotions. Although right now only few are the emotions, it is interesting how the system works. The robot delivers responses based on the tone of the statement spoken by the human speaker. They are increasing the number of emotions it is capable of handing. So all in all, with more clever algorithms and cheaper parts there's a lot left for robot coding to go.


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